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Base Rental Rate vs. Total Monthly Cost for a Downtown Phoenix Apartment

By Grace

Understanding all the costs associated with housing in downtown Phoenix can be challenging. Between rent, utilities, and other added fees, it can be stressful to determine exactly how much you’ll be paying each month.

While it may seem easy to compare the rates listed on each property’s website, the price that is quoted as base rent is not necessarily what you will actually be charged each month.

Read Next: What Fees Should I Expect to Pay When I Sign a Lease at Moontower?

At Moontower, we’ve helped hundreds of residents throughout the leasing process, so we know how confusing it can be. Our team is up-front about which fees you’ll be subject to pay when you sign a lease at Moontower, so you don’t have to worry about any surprises when your bill comes each month.

In this article, we explain the difference between base rate and total monthly rate to help you understand the full amount you will pay when you sign a lease at a downtown Phoenix property.

Base Rate vs. Total Monthly Cost in Downtown Phoenix

Exterior of Moontower PHX, a new luxury apartments in downtown phoenix

What is Base Rate?

Base rate is the price listed for each of the floor plans on a property website. This amount is the starting rate that only includes rent. This rate does not include any upgrades, utilities or additional charges.

How is Base Rate Calculated?

For traditional houses or apartments, the base rental rate is calculated for the house or apartment in its entirety. You and your roommates will sign one contract with your landlord, holding you all equally liable for paying rent each month for the entire lease. It will be up to you and your roommates to decide how to split up the rental rate instead of being separated for you.

Read Next: How Much Does it Cost to Live in Downtown Phoenix?

Each floor plan type has a base rate that is determined based on the number of roommates and bathrooms in the unit. The following features typically result in a higher base rate:  

  • Furnished apartment
  • Higher floor of the property / premium views
  • Balcony
  • Extra windows
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Walk-in closets
  • Washer and dryer in the unit
  • Fewer bedrooms (studio or one-bedroom apartments)

On the other hand, these factors typically result in a lower base rate:

  • Shared bedrooms (double occupancy)
  • Shared bathrooms
  • More bedrooms (i.e., two people sharing a two-bedroom apartment)

Read Next: 13 Additional Costs to Consider When Looking for an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

Some properties may include other factors into their base rate as well aside from the list above. For example, at Moontower we include GE stainless steel appliances and ceiling fans in every unit in addition to full-sized washer/dryer units and furniture. 

Moontower Phoenix Kitchen

Kitchens at Moontower feature marble look quartz countertops and glazed zellige look tile backsplash. Pictured here is the Palo Verde floorplan.

What is Total Monthly Cost? How is it Calculated?

Total monthly cost is the amount that you will actually be billed for every month. This is equal to base rent plus any additional charges. Some of these are based on each resident’s lifestyle needs, such as parking or pet rent. Others are required, such as utilities and renter’s insurance.

There will be a few one-time fees that you’ll need to pay before or upon move-in. These fees will likely include, but are not limited to:

  • Application Fee
  • Administration Fee
  • Security Deposit
  • Utility Set-Up Fee
  • Pet Deposit (if applicable)
  • Pet Fee (if applicable)

Beyond these one-time fees, you may be required to pay additional charges monthly or upon use. These additional charges may include:

  • Utilities
  • Rental Insurance
  • Trash 
  • Parking
  • Wi-Fi
  • Cable TV
  • Pet Rent
  • Technology Packages
  • On-Site Storage Units
  • Rental Tax

Remember, some apartments will include some of these add-ons in their base rent, while others may not. 

Keep in mind that the city of Phoenix charges a rental tax of 2.3%. This tax is applied to all rent and applicable lease charges, fees and utilities.

Overall, just because a property lists a lower initial base rate doesn’t mean it will be the most cost-effective option overall. It’s important to consider not only the base rate, but the other additional charges in order to calculate a more accurate total monthly cost. This will give you a more accurate comparison of your monthly housing expenses across different properties. 

Read Next: Ultimate Guide to Living in Downtown Phoenix

We hope this article helped you get a better idea of how to calculate and budget for total monthly costs at downtown Phoenix properties. If you have any more questions about rates, feel free to contact our leasing staff. Our team is more than happy to answer any of your questions.


Grace is a regular contributing author for, covering leasing tips and all things downtown Phoenix. She has 2 years of experience in multifamily leasing and marketing. Grace is an avid sports fan and a huge animal lover.

September 21, 2023

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